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It's the most busy time of the year


Wow. It is December already? The last time I looked at my calendar, I swear it was October...

The toddlers are about 20 months. As everyone likes to say, "this is such a fun age." As I like to say, this age exhausts me. It is so much fun watching them discover things. I love actually seeing them learn, like when they repeat a new word or when they figure out how to open a gate or door. C stacked his blocks nine blocks high the other night, then knocked them over to meticulously line them up in a row. Absolutely adorable to watch.

Then there are mornings like this morning.

C has decided that he doesn't want to put shoes on. I really think that is the dilemma. He won't leave the house in socks-- he must have shoes to cross the threshold-- but he does not like the act of putting shoes on. He also is exceedingly particular in what pair of shoes he wants. (Last month they only had one pair of shoes each. Why, oh, why did I buy another pair?) I was running late so I skipped the necessary steps for him to willingly put his shoes on, nearly a 10 minute game when done properly. He was a mess. He flipped from boneless to absolutely rigid for nearly 20 minutes while I attempted to get O ready to go. O was a sweet thing while I was battling with C. He listened to me; he brought me things. Once he was dressed and ready to go, O refused to leave the house. C had his shoes on, so he shot out of the front door and jumped right in the van. O would not leave the house. He clung to the front table. He clung to the door frame. He clung to me when I tried to put him in the van. I literally wrestled him into his seat, pointlessly repeating, "We don't act this way." I then had to pry C out from the back of the van where he had comfortably settled into big brother D's high-backed booster seat. Did C think I would let him ride there? The temper tantrum he threw while I buckled him in his own seat made it sounded like he did, indeed, think I would let him ride back there. I locked the front door, headed back to the van echoing with the sounds of angry toddlers, and briefly wondered why I was even leaving the house. (Then I thought back to post-breakfast when they both crawled on the table to attack my centerpiece and realized this might be a better use of their energy.) I turned on the van, the Christmas station started playing, and both toddlers stopped crying to start "singing" along to the holiday songs. Really? And I smiled because it was so cute listening to them. All was forgotten. The battle over buckling into the car seat was over and I moved on.

We arrived at our destination. I unloaded the van. Both of the toddlers fell asleep on the ride over. While I unloaded the stroller, C woke up and started screaming. He screamed when I unbuckled him and put him in the stroller. He screamed while I took O out of his seat and put him in the stroller. O gave me a big smile and a big hug. I gave C his sippy cup, which he threw. I started walking and C yells, "Oook! Oook!" (Translation: Look! Look!) He points to something in the parking lot and I excitedly yell with him, "Wow! Look, Cole, look!" I fumble for my wallet. Yup, left it at home. No money to pay for parking. No Starbucks on the way over because I was running late. I am now standing in a freezing cold parking lot with no way to pay for parking and two toddlers who will not be happy if I didn't bring them in to play-- with no coffee. What a morning. (Thankfully, my girlfriend took pity on me and spotted me the $2 to park.)

So far, we are stumbling along. When we came inside to play, C screamed at the top of his lungs because he wanted to play over there and not in here. I stood holding my angry 20-month old while the other moms looked at me. I always wonder while this is going on if I should do an obligatory time out or jump on the bribery train. I erred on the side of bribery and gave him his sippy cup. He clutched his water like it was his life line and started stacking toys in a basket.

The rest of the afternoon passed normally enough. D came home from preschool and attempted to wrestle with his brothers. There is no point wrestling with toddlers. They get angry if you stand on the corner of their blanket. They get even more angry if you make them sit down when they want to be standing. I am not sure how many times I said, "Keep your hands to yourself." Sometimes I feel two steps away from implementing "camp rules." I could be the mom with the mini van and the snazzy song. I clap the first verse; they clap the second verse as they line up behind me. I'm not sure if my mind is slowly slipping away or if that really is a good idea. If we do have a family line-up song, do we have to wear fanny packs while we do it or matching family shirts? While I thought this over, the boys ate lunch. I started loading the dishwasher and got distracted. D broke an ornament and cried when I threw the smashed ornament away (he didn't even get in trouble; it really was an accident). I comforted him and resorted-- again-- to bribery. "Do you want a piece of cinnamon bread?" Ornament instantly forgotten.

After lunch and bribery snack, I told the toddlers it was diaper time. C ran full speed in the other direction. O, ever the listener, started crying as he walked towards me. I laid him on the floor to change his diaper, wiping his nose first which made him so angry he held his breath. So far we've had a handful of breath holding incidents between both toddlers (my oldest was a relentless breath holder-- multiple incidents every day). O turned blue from head to toe. I thought he was going to pass out, as D often did, but I manged to distract him right before (blew in his face). During his exhausted post-breath holding whimpering, I quickly changed his diaper then gave him extra hugs. He pushed away from me and ran toward the toy bin, laughing loudly as he dashed. From one emotion to the next... Now to find C to change his diaper. C had actually climbed into a kitchen cabinet and was laughing maniacally. I could almost interpret the laughs, "She'll never find me here! I just got out of diaper changing and nap!" After wrestling with him through a diaper change, both toddlers were finally ready for nap, something neither of them wanted to do. No matter how often I explain to the boys that loud crying over naptime only makes me feel that naptime is more necessary, they still cry loudly when I say naptime. So off we went. C throwing himself flat on his face every couple steps to show me how much he didn't need a nap and O obediently following me down the hallway while he cried.

Now that both toddlers are down for nap, I'm looking around the house thinking, "Where to begin?" I have a load of laundry in the dryer. I have a sink full of lunch dishes. I  have piles of mail and papers to go through, stacked on every surface in my office area. D wants me to sit on the couch and snuggle him while we watch a movie. And our calendar is just full. Every day we have something else going on. I was looking at children's books the other day and realized I haven't done reading lessons with D since before Thanksgiving. Our days just slip by! I really do think this is a fun age. These boys make me laugh out loud all the time. (Even when they are misbehaving because, sometimes, it really just is too cute.) I think this age would be even "funner" if I could clone myself for the holiday season. My hubby and I could go to the preschool production while Mommy Clone 1 stayed home with C for naptime while Mommy Clone 2 took O to the pediatrician. This 1:1 ratio would also be ideal for those toddler temper tantrums...

On the plus side, the hubby is officially on holiday break tomorrow. I can't wait to be spoiled this coming month with an extra pair of hands around the house all day. Thank you, STA-21.

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